When you walk into a wedding reception or ceremony what is the first thing you notice? It could be beautiful décor like vintage couches or interesting tables. It could be interesting architecture that is rustic, modern, or mid-century. It could be the bride if you can catch a glimpse of her in her gown. It could be many things but chances are flowers and floral arrangements are high on everyone’s list. You’ll notice the floral centerpieces or the garlands running across the table or the extraordinary floral décor at the altar – whether drawing the eye or the nose, there are so many opportunities to creatively use floral arrangements to make your event memorable that we couldn’t possibly describe them all here in a short blog post.
We think you’ll find little argument that florals are one of the most important elements of a wedding celebration. As such, you’ll want to put some effort and careful consideration into the selection of your floral arrangements regardless of the season or your budget or preference for live or life-like flowers.
The Case for Live Florals
Live or real flowers are the height of authenticity.
Of course, live flowers look and feel like live flowers. Your guests can revel in the beauty of the flowers and in the feel of real petals and greenery under their fingers – and they will touch the flowers.
Touching flowers leads us to one of the few drawbacks for real florals and that is their fragility. Real flowers can be easily damaged by touching whether it is by guests or children of guests or even by wayward elbows, hands, and feet depending on the placement of your arrangements. Additionally, live florals can be damaged at multiple points along the supply chain from shipping to the florist to transport to the ceremony and reception site to set-up. Last and most unfortunately, real flowers can wilt with too much heat or cold or humidity or dryness and that can have a negative impact on your special day if the live florals are not planned with exacting precision.
That seems like a lot of negative there, but don’t let that frighten you; an excellent florist can help overcome that drawback. That said, real flowers and the means to handle them appropriately and professionally can be expensive. The best price isn’t always the best value so shop around and make sure you get referrals to the florist that is the right fit for your vision and your budget.
Let’s close out this section with a positive and the real reason to take on live flowers.
Many believe the biggest advantage for real flowers is in the fragrance and they have a point. Our sense of smell is very much entwined with our memory and with our centers for processing emotions.
Scientifically speaking, no other sense takes as direct a path to the centers for processing emotions and memory as scent. Scent goes starting from the olfactory centers (in the nose) to the amygdala (emotion processing center) to the hippocampus (learning and memory center) without the stopover at the thalamus (a kind of switchboard) that all the other senses take. That pathway can create deep-rooted emotional response to that scent for years to come. That’s a really complex way to something simple: the scent of a real flower can create a lasting and intimate memory for you and your guests on your special day.
An Alternative Solution
Before making the leap for real florals and flowers, take a moment to consider life-like alternatives. There are many options with a lot of flexibility to fit your needs.
I think that many of us probably recall the fake and plasticky flowers that sit sadly in urns or lonely vases in business parks and more industrial settings and offices. That is not what I am talking about here. Today, there are amazingly life-like replicas of real flowers made with silk, latex, and other materials that many would be hard pressed to differentiate from the real thing without close inspection.
Recall how fragrance can have a powerful impact on memory and emotion? The scent of many flowers can be faithfully duplicated with essential oils and other means to give your life-like looking flowers a life-like scent as well. You can even reapply any scent as needed to keep you memories live for years to come.
Another potential advantage to life-like flowers is sustainability and environmental friendliness. We say “potential” because they can be depending on a few different factors.
Life-like flowers can be shipped more efficiently and in a manner that is more environmentally friendly due to their durability. They do not require air transport or refrigerated transport; both of which can be fairly harmful to the environment.
Life-like flowers are also re-usable many times over meaning that there is one-time manufacturing process for a set of flowers and then they can serve the same purpose over and over again during their useful life where live flowers are one-time use and require constant planting that can damage the soil and since many are grown overseas, may use harmful pesticides.
Last, life-like flowers are typically far less costly than their live counterparts. They may be rented and re-used rather than purchased, costs are typically much lower in the production process and this is reflected in their rental or purchase price, and if you want flowers out of season, you do not have to worry about an up-charge due to limited supply or difficulty in obtaining the out of season flower.
What Flowers When?
We spoke just above about the seasonality of some flowers and that can be an important part of your decision making from both a monetary and aesthetic perspective.
If you have chosen live florals, ordering in-season flowers ensures you’ll get the freshest and most vibrant product available while at the same time saving you the expense of sourcing and importing out of season and hard to find floral products.
If you have chosen life-like flowers, you may still want to stay in season depending on the theme and look you want for your wedding. Of course, staying in-season is a very personal choice and one where you should be afraid to break with the season or with tradition if your vision calls for it. Regardless, here are some tips for flowers through the seasons:
· Pale flowers are more dominant, so think of softer colors, such as the pinks, yellows, and whites found in calla lilies, peonies, and hyacinths. However, if you love brighter colors, yellow is also available during this season, so consider daffodils and tulips.
· The warmer the weather, the brighter the colors! If you’re looking to bring some color to your big day, sunflowers and hydrangeas can help with that. However, summer also yields a variety of shapes of flowers, which lends itself to beautiful wildflower-like bouquets.
· Transitioning from warmer weather to cooler weather brings out the best of the floral world. This season combines the energetic colors of summer with the warmer tones of the cooler seasons, offering many combinations of colors and sizes of flowers. Consider mixing the dainty baby’s breath with the solid characteristics of roses and chrysanthemum.
· This season is characterized by deep and warm colors of floral, found in plants such as eucalyptus, holly and jasmine.
And that is just a taste of the many, many options available! We encourage you to engage a florist that is professional and specializes in weddings and events. That professional can help you decide between live and life-like, seasonality, and getting the best bang for your buck.
Best wishes for what is sure to be one of the best and most beautiful days of your life!